Money Issues Part 3

couple_bills

People have different attitudes to money, usually reflecting their upbringing.

So when two people come together in love, or some relationship, those different attitudes can cause problems. The law does not help, as it often favours the ‘supported’ partner, when there has been a separation. Laws vary from country to country.

Some people who have money avoid a relationship with someone “without”, for fear that the person is wanting them for their money, or will “get greedy” later. We have seen the American “pre-nuptial” agreements where before partners commit to each other, they are already making legal agreements to protect their money when separation comes.

Each couple have to find their own working formula. Over-spending by one can ruin a relationship, so can meanness. My father gave my mother a monthly allowance (she was fortunate to be a home-based mother and housewife) to cover home expenses and personal spending money. All was well.

Historically in many poorer families, the man would be paid in cash on Friday, then go to the pub, leaving the wife short of house-keeping money for the week ahead.

But if both work, what is the ideal? To keep separate bank accounts is good, as is sharing expenses in a reasonable way. If one partner was brought up with “sealed pocket” mentality, and every cent needs to be accounted for, he may keep tally of what she owes him, even for minor costs, while perhaps he buys the groceries, feeling generous. To keep track of debt that way shows an insecurity, and is not a sign of a healthy relationship. The other is passively controlled and manipulated – even if not intended and done subconsciously.

In another situation she pays a mortgage on her home, and she invited him to move in. He did, but did not want to share the monthly payments, saying, she would have to pay them anyway. Well, unsurprisingly she asked him to move out. Is there a future when there is such an attitude? The attitude will pervade through other issues, allowing “honeymoon period” passions to die.

When dating, if love is not too blind, the first signs of money attitude can be observed. Who pays, who does not pay? It may reflect a temporary financial lack, a deep-rooted meanness, natural generosity, or careless extravagance to impress. If one is not earning, what warning signs are there? Is it a lazy habit? Be aware.

Situations change, and one partner may need to support the other at different times. So a flexible approach and understanding is important. A relationship should be about sharing, and where there is not generosity from both partners, therein lies the root of future problems.